Garry Wills, a journalist and historian, is the author of numerous books, including Nixon Agonistes (1970), Inventing America (1978), Explaining America: The Federalist (1981), and Lincoln at Gettysburg (1993), which won a Pulitzer Prize that year. His most recent book is What the Qur’an Meant: And Why It Matters (2017). (November 2019)
When Bishops Meet: An Essay Comparing Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II
by John W. O’Malley
In John O’Malley’s When Bishops Meet—the latest of his five books on ecumenical church councils—he compares and contrasts what he has written on the three last councils and argues that there should be a new one. This is the culmination of a great project that was almost forced upon him in the years 1963–1965 when, as a young Jesuit priest, he was in Rome as a fellow at the American Academy, finishing research for his Harvard dissertation on Giles of Viterbo.
City of a Million Dreams: A History of New Orleans at Year 300
by Jason Berry
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, devastating an area seven times the size of Manhattan, flooding 80 percent of the city, ruining buildings, forcing a million people to flee, and stranding millions more in misery. Many of us remember this as a great failure of George W. Bush’s administration …
Studs Terkel, who died in 2008, is best remembered, if at all, by Americans at large for his popular and prize-winning books of oral history—nine of them, from Division Street (1967) to Hope Dies Last (2003). But we Chicagoans remember him more vividly for his large presence in our city over the last half of the twentieth century.
It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author, and not to learn it better. —Friedrich Nietzsche on the New Testament At last a man comes riding to the rescue of the English Bible. Condemning earlier translations of the New Testament, David Bentley Hart …
Congress is not a “co-equal” branch of government with the presidency. It is by far the superior branch. James Madison made that clear for all time with his lapidary sentence in Federalist No. 51: “In republican government, the legislative authority, necessarily, predominates.” Necessarily. Discussion over. Congress can, by impeachment and conviction, simply remove members of the other two branches, including its highest members (the president, the chief justice). Neither of those other two can do the same to Congress. Among the many things that show President Trump knows nothing about the Constitution was his October 6, 2019 tweet that said Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi should be “immediately Impeached.” Congress impeaches. Its members cannot be impeached.
After observing the problems women encountered at the elite colleges where I taught, I noticed similar problems in the protest groups and radical communes I observed as a journalist covering the social turmoil around opposition to the Vietnam War. In Canada, I found a tougher world of military deserters and draft refusers, and there as well I saw a natural leader doing the propaganda work of these activists, while the women complained that the political revolution their group was calling for did not reflect the sexual revolution actually happening in the world outside that of these radicals. The women were expected to service the men sexually, and they made little headway with their protests other than deserting the deserters. The fact that such sexism was common on the left as well as the right really came home to me.
“Gun rights,” as used by devotees of an absolutist Second Amendment, means their right to own guns. But in America today, it has come to mean more: the rights of guns. Guns themselves possess more rights than persons do. Guns’ exemption from common-sense legislation guarantees them not only rights, but also rites. Guns are sacred objects. They are more than things, more even than persons. They are an unstoppable force, a god.
How long must the list of Trump’s anti-democratic outrages grow before we hope that resistance be mounted openly, secretly, immediately, effectively? President Obama says we must wait until we can vote. After all, in a matter of weeks, we may vote in a House of Representatives that may impeach the president. But it is doubtful that we will elect a Senate that can convict the president. Vote, of course. But there is no reason to think that voting is the sole allowable form of resistance. What if the laws are not only unjust but framed and upheld by measures that baffle democratic correction?